What would a brokered Republican Convention do to the GOP?
A brokered Republican Convention sounds like such fun to political junkies. However, such shenanigans in today’s fractured political world might spell the end of the Grand Old Party. Powerful brands (and the Republican Party is one of the most powerful) gain their mojo by reflecting the values that adherents attribute to them.
Pulling the rug from under the feet of a political don is always a risky proposition. But, in the modern era at least, such denials have MOSTLY been the result of primary voting. When that happens, there is no one else to blame and disappointment does not necessarily manifest itself in defection. (Read a great article on the Trump candidacy here).
The closest brokered convention in my experience was the ’68 Democratic Convention in Chicago, oddly enough. Bobby had been assassinated, Eugene McCarthy had never built up a head of steam and we had a sitting President whom most thought would run for reelection. When LBJ stepped aside and opened the way for Hubert Humphrey to grab the nomination, there was a price to pay for such backdoor slight of hand.
The price was the election of George McGovern in 1972. The disaffection after the ‘68 circus caused a re-write of the Democratic Party rules – rules that in retrospect seemed to favor populists like McGovern (whose candidacy attracted little widespread support from party regulars).
The GOP does not have the brand permission to have a brokered Republican Convention.
What has and is happening to the Republican Party? The truth is the once grand GOP has become the party of NO! and obstruction. As a result, a plethora of what would be considered fringe candidates have replaced the party regulars.
In other years, candidates like Kasich and Bush would have garnered centrist support. Since the party became hostage to more extreme and more polarizing views, the idea of obstruction has come home to roost.
A brokered Republican Convention could just be the jewel in the crown for such a band of brothers. The party that decided it was in better political interest to appose EVERYTHING the current sitting President supported because it was politically expedient — even if it might be to the detrimental of the national interest itself— might now become a victim of its own expertise. The expertise of division.
So we need to ask, why should politicians who celebrate their divisiveness and fringe support be either surprised or upset over Donald Trump’s candidacy? Play with fire for eight years and you can expect to get burned.
Try separating yourself from the kinds of emotional kvetching that gives rise to Trump’s extreme politics (Putin-like pronouncements wrapped in the stars and stripes) and you might not have any choice but to coronate the self-described king.
Can you actually pull the rug out from under him and hold a brokered Republican Convention? Try to make compromise happen in a party that thinks compromise is weakness and NOT governance—and you are tearing at the very foundations of that brand. It could kill the host.
If you think such things are unthinkable it has happened before. Donald Trump is not the first candidate to wear and destroy a Whig.